|Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - January 27, 2008 - February 3, 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Officials warn against burning
Houston County Courier - February 2008
By Daphne Hereford
In a telephone interview Friday, Feb. 1 Houston County Fire Marshal David Lamb. Said, "Because of the current conditions, we are suggesting that people not burn anything at all."
Lamb said that although the area has received a fair amount of rain in the past week, the grass above the ground is dead and extremely flammable.
He stressed that the rain is merely saturating the ground making it difficult for firefighters to maneuver their equipment while the grass remains dry.
"The grass is dead and it won't come back until spring," Lamb said. "And with winds as they are this time of year, fires spread rapidly," he added.
Lamb said high winds pushed a Hwy. 21 east fire rapidly across property on Wednesday, Jan. 30 consuming about an acre before firefighters could extinguish it.
Crockett Fire Department and Latexo Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call at 2:14 p.m. in the Meadowood subdivision.
CFD Chief Darrel Deckard said a homeowner was burning a small brush pile and the wind pushed the fire to adjacent grass. It took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the fire.
Although Houston County is not among them, on Wednesday, Jan. 30 Gov. Rick Perry issued a state disaster proclamation for 152 counties in response to the threat posed by wildfires rapidly spreading in areas across the state.
According to the governor's office, burn bans are already in place in these Texas counties.
This disaster proclamation allows affected counties to be eligible for state assistance.
“I urge Texans to exercise extreme caution as conditions remain favorable for the development of wildfires across the state,” said Gov. Perry.
“Vigilance and good judgment are key to ensuring Texans’ families, homes and places of work remain safe.”
High winds and lack of precipitation have dried grass and other vegetation across the state, posing significant fire danger.
In addition, a major cold front entered the state on Wednesday with sustained winds of 30 to 50 miles per hour in some areas.
To address the potential threat, seven Texas Military Forces utility helicopters have been activated and are stationed in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas/ Forth Worth (DFW), and one CH-47 helicopter is currently on standby in DFW area.
The Texas Department of Transportation is providing fuel for volunteer fire department personnel and assisting in suppressing the fires.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas is restoring power.
The State Operations Center remains at the highest level of activation to monitor the situation.
The Governor’s Division of Emergency Management is coordinating state support for local officials.